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Silesian Dance Theatre


by Monika Gorzelak

January 21, 2011 -- Silesian Dance Theatre, Bytom, Poland

‘If I could say it, I wouldn’t have to dance it,’ said Isadora Duncan when asked to explain
her dance. The latest choreography by Idan Cohen for texts by Leonard Cohen and the
Beatles bridges what Duncan labeled unbridgeable, that is, the notorious gap between a
word and gesture. Thus, the surname coincidence of the dancer and the poet becomes a
self-comment on the performance.

In the beginning, there was the word. Likewise, in Cohen‘s dance. ’Because the world
is round, it turns me on,’ the Beatles start. There is flesh, too – a female dancer who
does the turning to the rhythm of the song words. Down on her knees, her body weight
shifting from her legs to the palms of her hands, the dancer draws circles on the floor. In
a circular motion, she thrusts her pelvis back and forth and points to her breasts, round
by nature. Now on her feet, the whole of her shivering body curves into a turning wheel.
Indeed, she is round and she knows how to turn. On the top of that, the roundness of her
moves turns the audience on.

Ironically, the ambiguity of her turns, multiplied by the ingenuity of the other
gradually emerging dancers, makes the turning meaningless. A male dancer who draws
two perfect circles on his chest and sticks it out with pride turns nobody on. Similarly, an
inert female ‘dancer,’ turned around in a horizontal position by two partners, as well as a
dancer turning his partner’s neck around the curve of his raised arm no longer apply the
traditional turn technique used in ballroom dancing. What this effects is pure grotesque
on the stage or movement, that is, a turn, with no burden of meaning. A self-referent or
pure turn.

Just like a poet, who releases words from their literal meanings and lets them speak for
themselves, Idan Cohen, the choreographer – demiurg, decontextualizes movement and
sets it free. Accordingly, abstarct movement, a new guest on the stage, indulges in wine
and wild dance, just like Leonard Cohen’s guests from the song under the same title,
played in the second part of the performance. At the end of the feast, whose meaning and
host are held in secret, Cohen, the singer, cries ‘Do reveal yourself […]/ Why has thou
forsaken me?’ And a something happens. Idan Cohen translates poetry into a gesture in
his ‘Because.’ Thus, the word becomes flesh, again.

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